PINE PLAINS, N.Y. — Upset by the treatment of U.S. military personnel, a 42-year-old father of an Army veteran sneaked a disassembled shotgun into a middle school just after classes began Tuesday, put it together in a bathroom, then held the principal hostage for more than two hours before surrendering without firing a shot, police said.
At 7:45 a.m., minutes after the bell signaled a start to the school day at Stissing Mountain Middle School, Christopher Craft Sr. loaded a single round into the shotgun, walked into the main office and confronted Principal Robert Hess, police said. Students were herded into the cafeteria’s kitchen or huddled under desks.
Craft ordered Hess at gunpoint into an inner office where he restrained him and threatened to kill him to try to compel school officials and police to talk to media about his message “concerning the wrongful treatment of United States Military personnel,” court documents said.
Students and staff were locked in other rooms, part of the school’s safety procedures.
Craft surrendered peacefully at 9:52 a.m. and was taken from the school in handcuffs. Officials said they negotiated constantly with Craft but did not say what finally persuaded him to surrender.
Police then began going room to room to clear out about 700 students from the combined middle and high schools, who were taken to the district bus garage to assemble. They returned to the school and were dismissed shortly after 2 p.m., about the time they are normally released.
No one was injured.